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Review – Udayananu Tharam


Udayananu Tharam

In this movie, there is a scene where Udayabhanu (Mohanlal), a struggling assistant director lectures a producer about the problems facing Malayalam film industry. According to him the film makers underestimate the viewers and makes movies which are pathetic. Then when one movie with mimicry artistes is released, people flock to see it since there is nothing else. The movie becomes a hit and producers think that mimicry movies are what people want. As a result we have low quality films. We agree with that assesment and wish that people wrote new stories and made films with some seriousness.

The movie starts with Udayabhanu who is struggling with the script of his first movie. He allows Rajappan (Srinivasan), a struggling actor to share his room. Rajappan steals Udayan’s script and gives it to a producer on the condition that Rajappan be made the hero. The film becomes a hit and Rajappan changes his name to Saroj Kumar and starts dictating even camera angles. Meanwhile Udayan gets married to the reigning heroine Madhumati (Meena).

Udayan gets devastated over Rajappan’s betrayal and after going through alcoholism and depression writes another script. By then Madhumati leaves him. The producer says that he is willing to make the film on the condition that Saroj Kumar be made the hero. On the movie set Saroj Kumar makes Udayan suffer with unreasonable demands and towards the end, walks off the film without shooting the climax. Udayan has to come up with an innovative plan to teach Rajappan a lesson as well as finish his film. This is the climax of the film.

The movie is genuinely funny and the story of the people behind the camera has not been told before (atleast not in our memory). The story has been told without resorting to slapsticks and even the regular comedy pattern (Cochin Haeefa playing the idiot, Salim Kumar playing the irritating character) has been broken. Even though it is a satire, it has a story which tells the politics behind cinema

This movie makes fun of everything in Malayalam film industry, like the super star craze and the art of writing stories to suit the star’s image. The star’s obsession with cooling glasses and putting his picture on every packet of pappadam and porotta is a direct dig at the current super stars. Then there are producers who think actreses are public property and there are actors who pay money and send people to boo competitor’s films.

Somewhere in the middle of the film, when Udayan is walking along the road, he sees Rajappan walking with some documents in a cover. Udayan calls him and Rajappan starts running. Udayan chases him all way to their shared apartment and he finds Rajappan sitting there, breathing heavily. First he goes and checks if his script is there in the trunk and after that he questions Rajappan on why he ran. In typical Srinivasan style, he makes up a story.

Even though the story is refreshingly new, there are scenes like the one above where Mohanlal and Srinivasan have played Tom and Jerry countless times before. How many movies have you seen where Srinivasan does paara on Mohanlal as in Sanmasullavarku Samadhanam, Nadodikattu trilogy and Mukundetta Sumitra Vilikunnu. This movie is no different.

In how many Srinivasan movies have you heard dialogues which are self-deprecating like a reference to his dark color and not so handsome face. How many times have you seen Srinivasan do the funny dance as in Pavizhamalli Poothulanja in Sanmasullavarku Samadhanam and Markazhiye Mallikaye in Megham? This movie has all of them.

Even though it is a comedy movie, Mohanlal has a serious role and he plays the role of the struggling asst. director very well. It is not the star Mohanlal, but the actor Mohanlal here as he does not hog each and every scene like in Narasimham or its many avatars. He performs his role with great subtlety and makes us feel the pain of the character.

The character which hogs the screen instead is Srinivasan, first as the scheming Rajappan and later as the flamboyant Saroj Kumar. Jagathi Sreekumar as Pachhalam Bhasi, his manager-cum-teacher, Mukesh as producer Baby Kuttan and Cochin Haneefa as a producer provide support. In this movie Salim Kumar does not fall into a cow dung pit or into dirt and instead has a serious role. Director-Writer Lohithadas and Bhavana make cameo appearances.

Director Rosshan Andrrews had a good script to work on, but still having not much faith in it resorted to changing his name to ensure success. Maybe he can spoof that in his next movie.

The music is by one of our favourite composers, Deepak Dev and we liked two songs, Parayathey Ariyathey and Karale Karalinte Karale. The second song, the picturization of which is similar to the song, Woh Ladki Hai Kahaan in Dil Chahta Hai was sung by Vineeth Srinivasan (Srinivasan’s son) for his father.

Even with all the drawbacks we mentioned, it was a good movie to watch with the minimum standard we expect from Malayalam movies. But it is not a classic along the lines of Nadodikaatu or Sanmasullavarku Samadhanam which we like to watch over and over again. Finally, the movie should have been called Sreeniyanu Tharam for he was the real star of this movie.


  1. As it has been rightly mentioned in the article, Sreeniyanu tharam in the movie. He has done a great job in the role as Saroj kumar / Rajappan Thengamoodu and also as the screenplay writer.. He has proved his strength in creating strong screenplays for stories with his own inmitable style of comedy.
    There were a couple of small stories that were making rounds during the time the movie was in making. The first one is that, when the movie had been conceived, Dileep was approached to do the role of Udayabhanu and he accepted. But later due to twist of fate, Jayaram was roped in for the role. And when Mohanlal heard about the story from his close friend Sreenivasan, he showed interest in doing the title role and Jayaram was happy to relinquish his hold on the role to Laletan.
    The next rumour is that, the scene involving Sarojkumar, trying to sell parottas and papadam with his face on the packs (taking a dig on Mohanlal for his food product Mohanlal’s tastebuds), was shot without the knowledge of Mohanlal. Later during the dubbing, when Lal came to know of it, he fumed up and started to search for Sreeni and Roshan Andrews frantically. But both these guys went hiding from Mohan lal for a couple of days. After Lal had cooled off a bit, Roshan Andrews convinced him in favour of the scene and Mohan Lal continued dubbing!! Only after dubbing of all the artistes was completed, Sreenivasan met Mohanlal. What transpired between them is their own secret.
    Though the movie had taken digs at Mammooty (teasing him for his love of coolers and cooling glasses and his awkward dancing with his heroines), Mohanlal (Marketing food products) and Dileep (the entire movie is a pun at the growth of Dileep who changed his name from Gopalakrishnan to Dileep after he came to movies), all these people took it lightly.

  2. Hey, I just now read that Udayananu tharam is itself a movie that was inspired from a hollywood movie called Bowfinger. The climax of Udayananu Tharam seems to be a straight lift from the above movie!! So Roshan seems to have played Rajappan Thengamoodu a little before making this movie 😉 !!

  3. Unni..This is amazing!!. How did you manage to find this out. Udayan is almost a straight lift from Bowfinger.

    But lets appreciate Roshshshaaaaaan for customsing it to suit Malayali audiences – and taking Potshots at Lal, Mammukka and most of all Dileep.

    Btw, i dont think Lal complained about that scene where they talk about exporting Porottas. In fact I distinctly remeber in either Lal’s/Sreeni’s interviews, where they say no objection at all was raised.

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  7. that was a wonerdull movie by roshan though its a copy of an eng movie.what about Hit maker Priyan then??how many copies then??siddique-lal movies?there is copies? comedian jagathy sreekumars expressions has similarity to hollywoood comedians..again cid moosa has the same shots of a comedy eng movie..what we hav to look into is the way its presented though its a copy.anu malik and ar rahman musics also has touch of olden hollywood hits…who bothers..??

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  13. about the bit with mohanlal getting furious on pappadam bit,i don’t think so….there is a scene in the film in which he sees an “achar” ad which has saroj kumar’s face definitely making a poke on the actor….also in another stone he throws stone on a billboard which is another jab on mohanal’s “karna” drama.

    Also,the fim was entirely sricpted early on that if “pappadam scene” was there, he definitely would have known it…

    Moreover, jagathy has publically stated in an interview that he aggreed to participate in the film onlywhen he heard of lal’s participation….

    About the casting, at firstthe role was given to lal, who also intended to produce the film under a new banner at the time….butit didn’t went through and lal was busy with other projects that it even to went to “Dileep”which sreenivasan mentioned in an interview as a shamefu happening. However after a long time, Jayaram landed on the role. By the time, lal was free and when he heard of the film’s proceeding asked jayaram if he could do the film which jayaram acknowledged…

  14. That movie would have been a disaster if Dileep had done it. Srinivasan is right on the money there.

  15. Well, true that the movie itself is lifted from Hollywood movies but not from just one. I guess the producer Roshan Andrews must have made a frantic search for “Movie about Movies” and must have zeroed in on the following two movies
    1: Bowfinger – from which the lack of talent, starring unknowingly, climax may have been copied
    2: Big Fat Liar – from which the concept of stealing / plagiarism may have been lifted.

    I think the first part of Udayananu thaaram resembles Big Fat Liar. The second part especially the climax is an exact reproduction of Bowfinger.

    All that Roshan Andrews and Srinivasan have done is that they have made it a mallu movie – transfomed it from Hollywood to Mollywood, adding a bit of masala – jokes about mallu actors.

    So, Roshan Andrews is another Rajappan Thengummoode? Or is it that this is a film on himself, his own action of stealing from Hollywood made into a movie ?

  16. Roshan Andrews was the film director.

    He didn’t produce…

    This was his first film…his debut.

    I can see the similarity to Bowfinger…
    but not the other film.

    The beginning of the film, the life and situation of Udayan, was from Roshan’s own life probably. The story of the AD dreaming to be a filmmaker.

    This film was a satire of Malayalam cinema, that was its main purpose. And at the end of the film, at the climax, Sreenivasan might have gotten inspired through Bowfinger.

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